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Tenant offers Notice within Fixed Term


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Hi everyone

 

I've just received a letter from tenant basically giving me 1mths notice (28Jan - 28Feb'07) and to use the damage deposit as the last mths rent. They apologise but say they have no money to pay. I've subsequently discovered she actually left her job 2wks ago, so including mths notice must have know at least 6wks ago she intended to do this :mad: .

 

The 'fixed period' doesn't end until 30 May'07 and I've already advised that if she can find a suitable tenant I will agree to an early termination. As this seems unlikely, I was wondering if anyone has any idea how likely I am to recoup outstanding funds in practice? Total amount = £2400, plus any damage costs.

 

I know I can go via the small claims court, but not sure how likely the judge is to award in my favour, then if she still refuses to pay, apply for warrant to get baliffs in.

 

I guess the bottom line is how likely am I to get my money back? Should I go softly, softly and do all possible to get what money I can on 'informal' basis explaining what will happen if courts become involved...but not too far in case she calls my bluff....or....should I be more confident with the legal system, and not pander to her?

 

Needless to say, every penny counts these days thanks to the increase in borrowing costs.

 

Any help & guidance much appreciated...

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Well, your 6 weeks thing doesnt make sense...she has known for 2 weeks. And to be fair, she has probably been trying to get a new job. Anyway, thats by the by.

 

Basically, she is legally obliged to pay the rent, but in order to be eligible for this you must make every reasonable attempt to mitigate your losses. IE you must make every reasonable attempt to re-tenant the property. However, as long as you do this, I see no problem in you winning in court. As she obviously cannot pay, I see no benefit in trying to "negotiate" with her - I would just take her to court when she leaves, for the outstanding rent, minus any covered by a new tenant etc. (She would also be liable for your reletting costs also). The most important thing to do is to get a forwarding address.

7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

Please click the star if I have helped!!

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Thanks for that.

 

I obviously wasn't clear about the '6wks'.....she voluntarily left her job 2wks ago giving 1mths notice, hence the 6wks.

 

She plans to stay till the end of the month, is there any merit in encouraging her to leave asap?

 

Just want to make sure I do it by the book....don't want judge throwing it out on 'technicality', or me doing something silly.

 

Cheers

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Thanks for that.

 

I obviously wasn't clear about the '6wks'.....she voluntarily left her job 2wks ago giving 1mths notice, hence the 6wks.

 

She plans to stay till the end of the month, is there any merit in encouraging her to leave asap?

 

Just want to make sure I do it by the book....don't want judge throwing it out on 'technicality', or me doing something silly.

 

Cheers

 

 

Have you given the tennant the opportuinity to claim Housing benefit Or do you have a no benefit policy. ?

 

I only mention this because a friend of mine who is a landlord, fell foul of this with one of her tennants.

 

Her tennant was 5 months into a 1 year tennancy and subsequently lost their job. The tennant subbsequently approached the landlord and asked if she would accept housing benefit, she refused. The tennant had no opption but to look for alternative accomodation and left after a few weeks. The lanlord then tried to sue for the remaining time left on the tennancy.

 

When the case went to court the landlord lost the case on a technicality that as the tennant had no other means to pay the rent, other than housing benefit due to the change in the tennants circumstances and the tennant had made an equitable offer to resolve the issue, which the landlord refused

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She plans to stay till the end of the month, is there any merit in encouraging her to leave asap?

 

Not really...technically she is paid up until then. Any "encouragement", however nice and well meaning, has the possibility of being claimed as harrassment or, even worse, unlawful eviction. Clearly not your intention, but it leaves yourself open, so I would not advise it.

7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

Please click the star if I have helped!!

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Thanks guys

 

Went to see tenant yesterday and provided her with a formal 'written' response to her Notice to quit.

 

She says her reasons for leaving are personal, and she's moving to be near friends & family...I haven't questioned this further.

 

Firstly she said she would be moving in with her parents, so I asked for their address. Said they'd just moved & she didn't have it. So I asked her to call them...she went upstairs, then came back with an address. I requested their phone no, but she said she didn't have it.

 

Today I've rec'd a text saying change of plan, she won't be moving in with parents now & not to use that address but she'll provide a new address when she has one. She's also suggested her partner as an alternative tenant, however, in a previous conversation she said he was moving away with her.

 

Hmm, it all just seems a bit too weird & I'm just not sure what to believe anymore? Guess I should focus on finding a new tenant and getting her forwarding address, don't know what else to do?

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Realistically, that is the best thing to do. Even if you dont get a forwarding address. You need to work on the basis of worst case scenario, which is that you basically no longer have a tenant, and you wont be able to reclaim lost rent. So, you need a new tenant ASAP.

7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

Please click the star if I have helped!!

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my business landlord had the same problem with his previous tenants. in the end, just had to cut his losses. it must be really frustrating for you, and the law will be on your side, but do you really need the aggro if you can find another tenant? it sounds as if this lady is having real problems and is scared to tell you exactly what is going on - people in debt do feel that way (as the vast majority of us know on this site). if she can't afford the rent now, it's unlikely she will pay it in the near future. if you've had a previously good relationship with her, why not try the sympathetic ear bit? She may realise the position she's put you in and give you her forwarding address or arrnge to pay off in small installments. If not, and it does go to court, you can then prove you did everything you could to amicably resolve this, which surely must go in your favour?Just be careful that it's a "sympathetic" ear, and she doesn't feel she's being harrassed.

All help is merely my opinion only - please seek legal advice if you need to as I am only qualified in SEN law.

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if your tenant is staying, and you accept, she needs to apply for HB. the tenant losing her job will have no bearing on her application for HB, it would have implications on a JSA/IS application. Likewise, if your tenant takes up a part time job she could apply for HB to cover some of the rent.

 

you mention that your tenant isnt sure whether she is staying or going, you really need to be looking for a new tenant if you existing tenant plans to honour the NTQ. likewise, i would not advise trying to get the tenant to leave before this date as you may breach the protection from eviction act1977. likewise if you do have prospective tenants viewing, i would advise you contact the tenant both in writing and with a quick phone call advising when you want to conduct the viewing and if it is ok. you dont want to breach the clients right to quiet enjoyment.

 

likewise, and again, if your tenant is not responsive, go to court, if you have tried everything as a landlord, and i would include recommending in writing to the tenant that she applies for housing benefit, then the judge will not be able to find a "technicality" that has been mentioned in various threads.

Thanks

 

 

 

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